Identifying Citizens

The Deoliwallahs and lessons from history

They say, “history repeats itself”. They also say, “do not reinvent the wheel”. But nation-states do both - recreate histories, and re-invent systems (if not always the same).

The fraught narrative of our times is: who counts as a citizen?

To bring a historical perspective to this question, Joy Ma and Dilip D’Souza - authors of the book “The Deoliwallahs” - recount a forgotten chapter from India’s history in 1960s. They look at history to bring perspectives to the present, be it constructing laws to recreate citizenship categories or to ‘mark’ certain groups to build a narrative about disease and exclusion.

Srinath Raghavan, professor of history and international relations at the Ashoka University and Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, will steer the discussion.

Join the session via *Zoom *or watch the event live from this page.

For inquiries, call 7676332020 or email


View Schedule